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Biters - Babylon, Ottawa, 18/11/2010

  by Andrew Carver

published: 4 / 12 / 2010

Biters - Babylon, Ottawa, 18/11/2010


At the Babylon in Ottawa, Andrew Carver watches local band the Biters play a storming set of power pop

Powerpop seems to be enjoying one of its temporary upticks in popularity, with old hands like Paul Collins touring far and wide and young turks like Gentleman Jesse and the Marked Men keeping the flame alive. It’s popularity is nowhere more evident than in the local scene in Ottawa, where groups like the White Wires and the Steve Adamyk Band are keeping the flame alive - even though most of the performers are too young to have even been conceived to the music that inspires them. Another performer with a firm dedication to the sounds of Cheap Trick and the Raspberries is Tuk Smith, whose previous Nick Lowe- and Slade-worshipping glam combos the Poison Arrows and the Heart Attacks made a splash in his Atlanta homebase before evaporating. In their wake he formed the Biters, and with a couple of like-minded Canadian acts he stormed the scorched plywood stage (aglitter with the broken glass of beer bottles past) of Ottawa’s Babylon nightclub. Opening the triple bill was Montreal’s the Bators - as in Stiv. The pointy-boot loving quartet still need a little more in the way of musical oomph to make their sound really hit, but they made a favourable impression in their black vests, polka-dotted or paisley shirts and well-cultivated bangs. Their boyish - or rather, Boys-ish - punk-pop was solid, and when their chops match their presentation they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Ottawa’s Mother’s Children mostly eschew the style elements of powerpop, although gangly guitarist and singer Michael Haddad has been known to sport a blazer and bangs and guitarist Ken was a long time devotee of the “young Keith Richards” look, the rhythm section seems predisposed to play in whatever was by the side of the bed when they woke up. However, what they lose in sartorial splendour they more than make up for in sharp tunes buttressed by a seriously energetic performance that soon had the crowd - already predisposed to liking the hometown favourites - bopping along. As excellent as their set was, the Biters took things a step further - and not just because they all seemed to be wearing matching black Converse sneakers along with a healthy helping of silvery jewelry and tattoos. Tuk is both a first-rate singer and guitarist but an accomplished songwriter who missed out on writing several No. 1 radio hits only by virtue of being born about 20 years too late to send his polished glam pop up the charts (although the band’s influences aren’t all from the 1970s - bassist Travis’s Turbonegro T-shirt provided another clue). The well-coiffed quartet also turned up the volume with some high-wattage Hiwatt and Marshall amplifiers. After racing through the 10 songs from their two EPs, they rounded things off with storming versions of Cheap Trick’s ‘He’s a Whore’ and an encore of KISS’s ‘Strutter’. If the wave of powerpop keeps up, the Biters stand to be at the crest.

Picture Gallery:-
Biters - Babylon, Ottawa, 18/11/2010

Biters - Babylon, Ottawa, 18/11/2010

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